Welcome to our unique country of contrasts! This 15-day one-way journey across South Africa will reveal the vibrancy and diversity of our people, culture and places – are you ready to discover an entire world in one country?
From vibrant cities to quiet, wild spaces; from vast, empty beaches to monumental mountain peaks; from rolling vineyards to alluring semi-desert regions, South Africa has it all. Every one of the 3800 kilometres travelled will reveal something different, something new.
If you’re looking for an interactive and fun way to travel between Johannesburg (known by locals as Jozi) and Cape Town; this small-group tour is sure to hit the sweet spot! Explore some of the best gems along the eastern coast and surrounding inland areas along the way – Kruger National Park, Talana Battlefields, Drakensberg, Wild Coast, the Garden Route and Route 62.
But the journey is never just about the destination… it’s about taking detours, stopping and taking time to meet the locals and letting the open road lead the way. The best way to truly get to know a country is by understanding its people. This tour invites you to visit them, from varying cultures and backgrounds. Learn about world-famous human rights activists who emerged from South Africa’s legendary anti-apartheid movement, including the late former President Nelson Mandela. And with 11 official languages, one of the world’s most progressive constitutions, and a rich heritage, South Africa certainly has that unexpected ‘X’ factor.
Venture off the beaten track; follow the inspirational ‘walk to freedom’ of Nelson Mandela; surf world-class waves along the Wild Coast; drive country roads to unique locations; stroll along pristine beaches; spot the animals of the Big Five in the wild; chase endless horizons; all in search of a deeper connection with the Motherland. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – let the variety of South Africa’s unique canvases unfold before you.
Join a park ranger on an open top 4x4 vehicle as you search for animals in Kruger.
Paddle through the staggering scenery and abundant birdlife of Wilderness.
Experience a rush like no other when you jump from one of the world’s highest bridge bungy spots!
Soak in the views of Knysna and its surrounds from atop the sandstone heads.
Zipline through dramatic scenery and over waterfalls in the Tsitsikamma forest.
Hike through the luscious Tsitsikamma forest over suspension bridges with views of a secret beach.
Sandboard your way through the dunes of Jeffreys Bay.
Get beak to beak with the world’s biggest bird at an ostrich farm.
Hang ten on the world famous Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay.
Head deep underground to the illuminated wonder world of the Cango Caves.
Roadtrip along Route 62's semi-desert country plains with quirky pitstops along the way.
Feel the wind in your hair as you gallop along a sandy Wild Coast beach.
Learn to ride Wild Coast waves with a qualified surf coach.
Perfect your downward dog with a yoga class in a tranquil Chintsa forest setting.
Immerse yourself in Xhosa culture and meet with a traditional healer.
Visit the former home town of one of South Africa’s greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela.
Visit an incredible ocean rock phenomenon known as “Hole in the Wall”.
Discover more about the Father of our democratic nation, Nelson Mandela, with a visit to a museum in Mthatha.
Drink in spectacular views as you hike the mountain paths of the Drakensberg.
Take in the spectacular views from Sani Pass and enjoy a drink in the highest pub in Africa.
Chill out with some beach time or shopping in the surf town of Jefferys Bay.
Visit the historic site of the Talana Battlefields Musem.
Make a stop at the Blood River Monument Heritage Site.
Learn about Howick Falls’ mystical resident, Inkanyamba
Spot members of the Big Five in the Kruger National Park.
Indulge in a beer tasting at an award-winning Nottingham KwaZulu-Natal micro-brewery.
Delve into the mystical world of traditional medicine and learn about Shangaan culture.
Make sure your camera’s fully charged… the Panorama Route will take your breath away.
Allow your senses to tune in as you track animals on foot in the Kruger National Park.
Taste delicious ports in the Klein Karoo at Boplaas.
Drive the dusty roads of Addo in the tour van, searching for elephants and other wildlife.
Start with a morning pick-up from your accommodation in Johannesburg.
What a way to start a tour across this beautifully diverse country! A day so packed with places to go and things to do that we’re certain you’ll be starting the journey on an exceptionally high note. After you get collected from your accommodation in Johannesburg CBD area, visit a Shangaan village for a chance to brush up on the culture of this part of South Africa. On the way there you’ll be treated to a route where panoramic scenes abound, and natural beauty awaits around every bend. Trust me – you may think you know South Africa but you ain’t seen nothing yet!
There will be plenty of stops along the way at geological wonders and breathtaking vistas such as the famed God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three Rondavels. By the end of day one your cameras will be full and you’ll be left wanting more as you reach your lodge in Hazyview.
Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.
Driving away from Hazyview sees you enter the famed Kruger National Park. At nearly two million hectares, Kruger is the largest protected wildlife area in South Africa and one of the greatest game reserves in the world. Roaming the roads in the southern section of the park, you'll commonly encounter white rhino, hippos, sable antelope, kudu, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and impala.
In the morning you'll game spot your way through the bush in the tour bus to reach Pretoriuskop Camp. Chase this with an afternoon game drive in an open 4x4 safari vehicle, guided by a park ranger.
After the game viewing is done, return to the iconic African-style round huts at Pretoriuskop for the night. This fenced camp within Kruger ensures that you're totally safe… and it’s thrilling to fall asleep to the nocturnal sounds of the bush.
Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.
Awake your senses to the sounds and smells of the bush as you leave early on a guided bush walking safari. With the safety of an armed ranger by your side you'll track animals, examine insect and bird behaviour, and you might even stumble upon wild animals grazing. This is a moment when your senses completely tune in to being here, now, at one with nature, and you’ll return to camp exhilarated.
Leaving Kruger gives you the chance to do one last stint of game-watching before you exit the park and make for the small town of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, South African’s easternmost province.
This morning, you’ll leave the Lowveld, a low-lying area that is dominated by open grassy plains and thorn trees, and trade it with the tall mountain peaks of Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
This area, particularly the area around Dundee, is steeped in a very bloody history that was instrumental in shaping the South Africa we know today. Intense battles raged between the Brits, the Boers and the Zulus on these grounds.
Fire off the history lesson with a stop at the Talana Battlefields Museum in Dundee, where the first battle of the Anglo-Boer War took place, and end off at the Battle of Blood River monument. When you leave the rich history behind your van heads into the heart of the quaint city of Dundee.
Today you’ll be driving through one of South Africa’s favourite weekend playgrounds, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. It’s a big farming region, and the patchwork-like rolling hills are interspersed with small nature reserves. The Midlands Meander, a collection of charmingly winding routes, offers an abundance of small family run farm stall stops.
Break up the day's journey by stopping at a local brewery for a quirky craft beer tasting in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal. Just a few kilometres away is the “Capture Site”: the place where Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962. You’ll enjoy a photo stop here giving you a chance to honour this hero's efforts, and marvel at the site's sculpture, comprising of a whopping 50 steel columns! Further along, enjoy an opportunity to gaze upon the spectacular (especially after the rains) Howick Falls.
As you approach the Drakensberg the mountain peaks will grow with each passing second while the air becomes more and more crisp. You’ll retire in the mountains this evening for a night of blissful rest.
So much to see, so little time. It’s always tough when travelling to choose how you’re going to experience a place… and this is one of those days. You can either hike the mountains by walking some easy (but really scenic) trails with a local guide, or head up Sani Pass with a 4x4 vehicle. When you reach the very top of the mountains where South Africa meets Lesotho, the reward is sweet with a view that will have you reenacting the scene from The Lion King; "Everything the light touches is our kingdom".
Spend the evening in the heart of the Drakensberg, surrounded by mountain views that are sure to woo you into coming back again sometime.
There really is no way to describe today without gushing about the landscape, and the day’s journey really shows off South Africa’s contrasting geographical diversity.
As you hit the road on your journey towards the coast, make a stop at the Mthatha Nelson Mandela Museum site. You’ll get a chance to learn more about our South African hero and view a collection of Mandela’s presidential gifts. After the history boffs have got their fix you will soon reach paradise; driving through wild hills, sparse settlements, small towns and increasingly lush farmlands as you approach the coastal haven of Coffee Bay.
With every kilometre you travel through the Wild Coast the landscape gets wilder and you'll be forced to go slower by the occasional herd of cows hogging the bumpy roads. From African huts lining rolling green hills to cliffs that drop dramatically onto pristine shores; snaking river estuaries to vast beaches, this area is simply enchanting.
Revel in the untouched tropical atmosphere of Coffee Bay, and be lured by the smell of the salty ocean waves breaking on the pebbled shoreline.
Make the most of your free day by kicking back and taking full advantage of the chilled vibes. Nature lovers can be awed by a hike to Hole in the Wall, a natural phenomenon that is quite a crowd pleaser in the region, and it’s no surprise why! The hike is rather physically demanding and the views make it well worth the trek. It will take up a large chunk of the day, but you’ll have plenty of time to stop and swim along the way, and still be back by sunset. If you are not keen on a heavy hike, opt to take the transport option that meets the hiking group at The Hole in The Wall at noon.
Back on the road, you’ll be heading inland on an enlightening and moving journey through South Africa’s history and politics, before turning towards the coast and travelling once again through the Eastern Cape’s vast, open landscapes.
Nelson Mandela has been instrumental in South Africa's struggle against Apartheid. The next stop will drive past Qunu, a humble rural area where the long walk to freedom really began, Mr Mandela's hometown.
After being shown around and hearing some stories from a very knowledgeable local guide, you’ll have time to ponder the legacy of Madiba as you drive through the former Xhosa homeland towards Chintsa, another enchanting town on the Wild Coast.
Chintsa is a small piece of paradise oozing tranquillity and your to-do list for the day is taken up by one extremely important task - relaxing. If you feel the need to while away hours in a hammock, with a good book in hand, that’s perfect. If you choose to stretch your legs and wander or run wild on the beach, well, you have 15km of untouched coastline to keep you occupied.
If you’d like to get out and do something then of course we do have some suggestions for you. Fancy a horse ride across a wild beach? Learn to surf? Forest yoga? All here – all available for you to do. The culture vultures can even learn more about the Xhosa culture and meet with a traditional healer.
After breakfast you’ll leave the coast for a while and travel inland along the Wild Coast to reach the start of the luscious Garden Route. You’ll arrive at the gates of Addo Elephant National Park, the third-largest of South Africa’s 19 national parks, in the early afternoon. Yet another opportunity to see some of Africa’s wildlife and while animal sightings can never be guaranteed, it’s almost certain you will see elephants as you drive through the park in the tour van.
After leaving Addo, say goodbye to the Eastern Cape province and head straight for the beach again. The large white caps (or seahorses as the locals call the wave crests) of Jeffreys Bay herald your arrival in the official Garden Route and South Africa’s quintessential ‘Surf City’. Hang ten with the locals and hit the beach of this laid-back coastal town as you slip into a relaxed frame of mind.
Spend your day at leisure in the coastal town of Jeffreys Bay blessed with gnarly surf breaks and rip curls. It’s not surprising that many of the leisure activities in this surfing town revolve in and around the water. Hang ten on the beginner breaks, learn to surf at one of the many surf schools in town, visit J’Bay Surf Village’s factory outlets for a bargain or duck into the JB Surf Museum and learn about the evolution of the surfboard.
Various hiking trails surround the area, and there’s also sand boarding, horse riding on the beach, stand-up paddle boarding, and scuba diving. If you’re a beachcomber at heart, Jeffreys Bay’s shell museum boasts one of the largest collections in South Africa.
Pristine wild and adventure go hand in hand on this adrenaline-packed day. From admiring the views from the imposing Knysna Heads to ocean and river views atop Bloukrans Bridge - the world’s highest commercial bridge bungy jump - or ziplining over a gushing river gorge in the Tsitsikamma forest.
As you head to the coastal belt, paradise-like towns such as Plettenberg Bay show why it and the Tsitsikamma National Park are favourites with holidaying locals. The short but steep walk to Tsitsikamma’s suspension bridge is worth it for the views alone and, you’ll likely get a thrill as fellow explorers test its swing factor.
More adrenaline as you arrive at Bloukrans Bridge Bungy. The bungy bridge itself is fairly unassuming as you drive over it, but it’s pretty apparent from the squeals and screams that this isn’t your average photo stop. Here, seemingly normal people hurtle face first down the 216m drop only to spring back up on their elastic cord like a yo-yo. So if you're feeling daring, why not face your fears and have a go? Those who do not jump can opt to explore the lush forests of the Tsitsikamma area.
Top off the afternoon with a leisurely hike to the top of the breathtaking Knysna Heads, two rocky sandstone cliffs that frame the Knysna Lagoon. For those that savour a great night’s sleep, tonight’s end destination – the coastal town of Sedgefield – promises just that. The tranquil village boasts the title of Africa’s slowest town. Here, life in the slow lane is THE way of life.
As you leave the Garden Route, slow down and take to the water for a leisurely paddle along the reed-lined banks of the Touws River, deep in the indigenous forest of the Wilderness National Park. It’s not until you stop paddling and let the gentle current guide you, that the abundance of birdlife becomes apparent.
Your next stretch takes you inland, to the ostrich capital of the world. If you haven’t picked it up from the bird-filled paddocks lining the highway or the colourful feather stalls as you head into Oudtshoorn itself, you will from the many show farm signs and the palatial sandstone homesteads that hark back to an era when ostrich feathers were worth more than gold.
This afternoon, you’ll delve deep underground into the magical Cango Caves’ limestone chambers, alive with drip formation stalactites and stalagmites and remnants of Khoikhoi paintings. Opt for the easy-going Heritage Tour to test the cave’s acoustics and gain insights your guide provides into the formation and dripstone evolution. By contrast, the Adventure Tour allows would-be contortionists to squeeze, twist and wiggle their way through limestone chimneys on a rather more adventurous underground route.
When you’ve had just about enough adventure for the day, kick back in your luxurious Oudtshoorn accommodation, where optional ostrich steaks or kebabs complete the experience for those with an adventurous appetite.
Before your journey's end in the Cape, you still need to meet some locals… The Cango Ostrich Show Farm gives you a glimpse into the farming industry, allowing you to observe the world’s biggest bird beak-to-beak and test the toughness of the shells.
Time flies when you’re having fun! Along the rugged landscapes of Route 62, the longest wine route in the world, you'll capture the beauty of high mountains, twisting passes, vast Karoo plains, vineyards and orchards. Route 62 is more than just burgers and beers, farm stalls or small country towns. It is, after all, famous for its wine, so oenophiles will be in their element with the wine pit stop en route.
By the time you reach the big city lights of Cape Town in the evening your Instagram feed will be bursting with authentically African moments and unending landscapes. This is the end of a pretty comprehensive tour across South Africa – and what a journey it’s been! Hamba kahle, friend – go well and may Africa always have a special place in your heart.
End with an evening drop-off at your Cape Town accommodation.
Maximum 13 guests per vehicle or guide.
Led by a local English-speaking professional tour guide.
Transfers to included tour highlights.
There is no central meeting point for this tour. A transfer service will collect you from your Johannesburg accommodation.
14 nights accommodation according to your Ways 2 Stay package.
Optional activities can be paid and booked during your journey as per price listed on itinerary.
Local and international flights are excluded.
You are responsible for your own personal travel insurance.
You can purchase meals + drinks on tour.
I love working with people and making them smile, it’s why I chose to work in the travel industry. To be able to help someone make their travel dreams come true really makes my day. When I’m not busy being the friendly voice on the other side of the Hotspots2c hotline, you’ll find me spending time with my daughter and my husband, exploring and, every now and then, indulging in a little art or dance.
Click terms for more details.
Full amount required to reserve or confirm a booking.
Children under 12 years are not allowed. Children between 12 and 18 years must to be accompanied by an adult.
11 official Languages Spoken
Afrikaans – English – isiNdebele – Sepedi.– Sesotho – Siswati – Xitsonga – Setswana – Tshivenda – isiXhosa
How to say hello?
Molo – Xhosa
Sawubona - Zulu
Hallo - Afrikaans
Dumela - SeSotho
Electricity – Volt & plug
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins.
WiFi/Internet Access on tour
WiFi can be found at most accommodations, restaurants and airports, however, the download speed is often slow and many connections limit your data usage. In short, you’ll be able to stay connected with home, but don't expect to watch HD movies in your spare time.
When to go
South Africa is blessed with a mostly mild climate, but different areas will yield different temperatures throughout the year. Summer in South Africa is usually peak season, lasting between November – February, however Easter time (March) is often still considered peak season too. Temperatures range from 25ºC in coastal areas to high 30ºs in inland areas. Cape Town has ideal weather during this time and Durban sports warm beaches and humid air, Johannesburg experiences hot clear days and often an afternoon thunderstorm.
Shoulder season is April and May, as well as September and October. Surprisingly, the weather in Durban is often at its best during this time, and other areas simmer down from their scorching highs. Prices are lower and crowds are smaller. September and October see eruptions of flowers and blooms all around the country.
Winter is beautiful in most parts of the country. Cape Town experiences winter rain and is often a little cold and miserable, but still crisp and beautiful. Because of the warm Indian Ocean, Durban has spectacular weather in winter, often hovering around 20-25ºC with clear blue skies. Inland areas get quite chilly and the odd snowfall is not uncommon (it only lasts for a day though!). Prices are at an all time low and it is an ideal time for game viewing, as the animals are more active in the cooler weather.
Best time to go
Jun-Jul = Safari
Jan-Feb = Beach
With the possible exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, most tourist services and attractions are open on South African public holidays. In addition most city shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues remain open.
|1 Jan||New Year's Day|
|21 Mar||Human Rights Day|
|30 Mar||Good Friday|
|2 Apr||Family Day|
|27 Apr||Freedom Day|
|1 May||Workers' Day|
|16 Jun||Youth Day|
|9 Aug||National Women's Day|
|24 Sep||Heritage Day|
|16 Dec||Day of Reconciliation|
|17 Dec||Day of Reconciliation Holiday|
|25 Dec||Christmas Day|
|26 Dec||Day of Goodwill|
Visa & Travel docs
Travellers from most Commonwealth countries (excluding New Zealand), most Western European nations, Japan and the USA receive a free, 90-day visitor's permit on arrival. These travellers do not need a visa to enter South Africa. A valid passport is essential with at least two empty pages. You generally will need to show return or onward travel arrangements. Children aged under 18 must show an unabridged birth certificate (showing both parents details).
Some countries do, however, need a visa. Visas are not issued upon entry, they must be attained beforehand. It is advised that you clarify this before you leave, the Department of Home Affairs office has a comprehensive list of countries that do not require visas. http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries
What to pack
We're generally laid back in South Africa, so no need to haul out your best silks and diamonds when you head to our shores. Here's some clothing advice when in South Africa:
Health & Safety
There are no compulsory vaccinations required to enter South Africa with exception of a yellow fever vaccination if you have been in a yellow fever area within the last 12 months.
The only major health risk you might face in South Africa is malaria, which is confined to small areas in the north-eastern parts of the country. Small pockets of the northern parts of the Kruger National Park fall under this area but the risk here is considered extremely low and it is not always necessary to take anti-malaria tablets. Remember as a precautionary measure to check with your accommodation what is recommended.
South Africa may have high crime statistics, but if you conduct yourself wisely, most tourists enjoy the country without any incident at all. Ensure that you lock away your passports and travel documents in a safe, which is usually provided by your accommodation. Don't flash around valuables and keep an eye on your belongings at all time. Majority of South Africa’s crime is opportunistic petty crime, so if you are vigilant about your belongings you should not have any problem.
South Africa has 3 world-class airports that receive international flights every day; Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Most international airlines will have flights into one or all of these airports daily.
There are numerous budget carriers that offer domestic flights between the major cities for very reasonable rates; this is the fastest and safest way to span large distances, especially between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which is a 2-hour flight.
From the airports there are numerous shuttles and taxis that you can pick up upon arrival, there are also many different car hire options at each airport and in all major cities. Uber is another reliable and affordable option.
Our currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. You can easily convert your currency to rand at a bank or Forex Bureau, the airports and larger towns often have many different Forex options. You can also withdraw from an ATM, banks are available throughout South Africa. Be sure to check what international bank charges you will incur for withdrawals before you arrive. Major credit cards are usually accepted in hotels or restaurants, however, there may be a surcharge. It is advisable to have small amounts of cash for curios and tipping.